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U.S. consumer confidence index rises to 18-year high in October

Staff Writer |
A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed a continued increase in US consumer confidence in the month of October.

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The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 137.9 in October from a downwardly revised 135.3 in September.

With the increase, the consumer confidence index reached its highest level since hitting 142.5 in September of 2000.

The report said the present situation index climbed to 172.8 in October from 169.4 in September, reflecting an improvement in consumers' assessment of current conditions.

The percentage of consumers saying business conditions are "good" inched up to 40.5% from 39.9%, while those claiming conditions are "bad" edged down to 9.2% from 9.6%.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was also more favorable, with those claiming jobs are "plentiful" rising to 45.9% from 44.1% and those claiming jobs are "hard to get" dipping to 13.2% from 14.1%.

Reflecting a continued increase in optimism about the short-term future, the expectations index also rose to 144.6 in October from 112.5 in September.

The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months crept up to 26.3% from 25.8%, while those expecting conditions will worsen dipped to 7.4% from 8.3%.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board said the outlook for the labor market was somewhat mixed, as consumers expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 21.9% from 22.1% but those anticipating fewer jobs also slipped to 10.5% from 11.4%.

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